I have wanted to write about Panda so many times, but have found myself stumped each time I start. Set up more like a well- organized factory supply room than a retail environment, Panda, despite being nestled among several seemingly similar stores, holds a space and purpose of its own on that busy stretch of 38th Street.
In the beginning of the business (1992), Panda's main customers were local sewing factories because the local business was big at that time. But now, their main customers are major apparel manufactures and factories in South America instead of small local sewing factories. Luckily for us in New York City, they have a location right here, giving us access to their products.
From my perspective, the main reasons to go are the zippers and steaming/pressing supplies. They provide a brief zipper education on their website, to help you know what is available to choose from.
Seam bindings, thread, zippers, cords, glues, fasteners, tools, notions... it isn't very "browseable" for the easily overwhelmed, but will absolutely satisfy those who know what they want. They have particularly interesting zippers, elastics, velcro, cups, pads, irons, steamers... it just goes on and on... and on...
In my opinion, Panda is aimed at the sewing professional, rather than the hobbyist, with an emphasis on selling items in quantity. No time to waste, consistent stock, clearly marked items available in ample quantity. If you are local (NYC), and meet a minimum purchase amount, they will deliver items to you personally. Now, seriously, you can't beat that, can you?